Date: 13th September 2006 at 2:49pm
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Following Pompey’s impressive start to the season, which has seen us keep four straight clean sheets England Manager Steve McLaren has confirmed that the door is not closed on David James and Sol Campbell, among others.

Having been left out of McLaren’s opening squads it appeared that James’ and Campbell’s International careers could be over, but following these McLaren comments it appears quite the opposite.

“I’ll never close the door on anybody – and David James and Sol Campbell are two examples. To get in the England team you have to perform well at your clubs, you get recognition, you may get an opportunity.”

“We are looking at a lot of other players outside of the squad. The likes of James and Campbell – they are not discarded.”

James has been in fine form for Pompey since his arrival from Manchester City and despite being 36-years-old this is not overly old for a Goalkeeper and his experience would provide England with great back up. Personally, Pompey player or not I think he should have still been in the England set up anyway.

Campbell, who turns 32-years-old next week had a fantastic debut, which, despite more impressive displays hasn’t quite been reproduced on that level, he has nevertheless played a pivotal part in his marshalling of the back four to enable us to have kept these four straight clean sheets, thus seeing us gain our best start to a season in over 50 years. I still think he will find it harder to get back in the squad however.

One man, who in my own opinion would deserve England recognition more than almost any other footballer in the country, and if I’m honest not purely down to his footballing quality but also because of his all round nature would be the fantastic Linvoy Primus. He has quite simply been world-class for us so far this season and without knowing otherwise you could quite easily think he was an England International, or at least formerly one.

At 33-years-old, turning this age tomorrow in fact, and despite Chris Powell making an England debut pushing towards his mid thirties I’m afraid Linvoy will miss out, not that I’m suggesting for one moment he would even be in McLaren’s thoughts as he won`t and for no other reason than his age, he just simply wouldn’t be a long-term asset to England.

Hypothetically speaking had Linvoy on the other hand previously had experience with England, despite his age a recall would have been given without doubt as he would have already have had the experience on that stage, so his nation would have known that they could call upon him again, without this having been the case it’ll never happen…

Although many of you out there have been of the opinion in the past that having Internationals isn’t something you are concerned about having, some in fact would prefer not to, due to concerns over players being injured on International duty or seeking moves away to other clubs due to being so. Maybe even fears that mixing with others at high profile clubs could see them trying to “tempt” them into moves away, the simple truth is if we really want to move forward we will need International quality players (as we are getting) and should they be England Internationals all the better.

Who will be the first Pompey player to represent England since Mark Hateley in 1984, only time will tell but if McLaren is a man of his word then this could happen sooner than most would have thought following James’ and Campbell’s initial oversight…